Mar 23, 2023

Relativity’s first 3D-printed rocket launches successfully but fails to reach orbit

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, space

Relativity Space, a 3D-printing specialist, launched the inaugural flight of its Terran 1 rocket late on Wednesday night, which successfully met some mission objectives before failing to reach orbit.

Terran 1 lifted off from LC-16, a launchpad at the U.S. Space Force’s facility in Cape Canaveral, Florida, and flew for about three minutes. While the rocket cleared a key objective — passing the point of maximum atmospheric pressure during an orbital launch, known as Max Q — its engine sputtered and shut down early, shortly after the second stage separated from the first stage, which is the larger, lower portion of the rocket known as the booster.

Relativity launch director Clay Walker confirmed that there was an “anomaly” with the upper stage. The company said it will give “updates over the coming days” after analyzing flight data.

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